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Patriotic Story
Real / Nonfiction
Thurman P. Woodfork

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A Failure To Communicate
February 11, 2011

The house is quietly talking to itself in the late hours of the night, creaking and popping gently. Sort of reminds me of myself, these days. Hell, it's older than I am, so I guess it's allowed to commune with itself, as long as it doesn't get too boisterous about it.

The light of a single lamp shining own on the keyboard illuminates the room. Books and tapes, DVDs and CDs sit quietly on the shadowed shelves against the walls, waiting their turns to entertain and inform. The TV chatters away softly in the next room. I am alone, but not lonely.

The ring itself is a symbol of a sort of triumph for me. It’s a military ring that announces to anyone who cares to examine it that I served in the Air Force in Vietnam. It has my name engraved on one side and “Trang-Sup, Tay Ninh” on the other. That’s where I spent my year’s tour of duty ‘in country’, as we say.I sit here lazily typing, and the lamplight strikes gleaming sparkles from the synthetic gem in the ring on my finger as my hands move. Considering the size of the gemstone, I can't help but wish it were my real birthstone. I was born on April 4th, and April's birthstone is the diamond. The ring would be worth a small fortune if that stone were the genuine article.

The ring itself is a symbol of a sort of triumph for me. It's a military ring that announces to anyone who cares to examine it that I served in the Air Force in Vietnam. It has my name engraved on one side and “Trang-Sup, Tay Ninh” on the other. That's where I spent my year's tour of duty ‘in country', as we say.

The Vietnam Service ribbon is below the place names, and a map of Vietnam is below my name on the opposite site of the ring. “Det. 7, 619th TCS” is inscribed inside the ring. “USA” is engraved on both sides just before the ring curves under my finger. The words, “US Air Force” encircle the faux diamond setting. I have forgotten what kind of stone it is; I don't think it's a cubic zircon, though it glints and shimmers brilliantly enough in the lamplight. It really glitters when the sun touches it.

I bought the ring online at a time when I weighed quite a bit more than I do now. When it arrived in the mail, I discovered I couldn't get it on my chubby ring finger. It had never occurred to me that fingers get fat right along with the rest of the body. So I had ordered the same ring size I had worn when I was some fifty or sixty pounds lighter. The triumph I mentioned earlier is that I have managed to exercise sufficient willpower to lose enough weight so that the ring now fits comfortably on the ring finger of my left hand.

Of course, I had wanted to wear it on my right hand, which is a little larger than my left because I'm right-handed. But why quibble with this small success? I intend to lose about twenty more pounds. Perhaps one day, when I reach that goal, I can switch the ring to the finger it was meant to grace. For the present, I'm happy that I can wear it at all.

But I had not intended to write about the ring. I had started out to write something on the IWVPA (International War Veterans Poetry Archives) theme word for December, which is ‘miscommunication'. However, my mind wandered off on its own business, as it seems to be more and more inclined to do as I grow older.

When I hold down the ‘Alt' key and left click on the target word ‘miscommunication', a little yellow-bordered box from pops up on my computer screen. It informs me that miscommunication is the “Lack of clear or adequate communication.” Well, I swan! Who'd have thought it?

I much prefer the GuruNet program that this one supplanted and politely turned off. GuruNet provides a lot more information, and besides, it offers a thesaurus as well as pictures. It's also linked to Copernic Agent Professional. Furthermore, it seems to me that, when I was a schoolboy, I was told that you weren't supposed to use the same word or a derivative when giving its definition. Unfortunately, apparently bought out the GuruNet people and is pushing their own (to my mind, inferior) program.

What the hell; I'm sleepy now, so I think I'll go to bed and forget the whole thing. Is it possible that I've managed to fail to communicate with myself? I certainly haven't done what I initially set out to accomplish. The warden in “Cool Hand Luke” suddenly pops into my mind, twanging nasally, “Whut – we – have – heah... is – failyuh... to – communicate!” Or something like that.

Oh, well! Good night.
Thurman P. WoodforkBy Thurman P. Woodfork
Copyright 2007

About Author... Thurman P. Woodfork (Woody) spent his Air Force career as a radar repairman in places as disparate as Biloxi, Mississippi; Cut Bank, Montana; Tin City, Alaska; Rosas, Spain and Tay Ninh, Vietnam. In Vietnam, he was assigned to Detachment 7 of the 619th Tactical Control Squadron, a Forward Air Command Post located on Trai Trang Sup. Trang Sup was an Army Special Forces camp situated about fifty miles northwest of Saigon in Tay Ninh province, close to the Cambodian border. After Vietnam, Woody remained in the Air Force for nine more years. Visit Thurman P. Woodfork's site for more information

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